It was a Sunday and I took a notion and finally decided to dive in and try out Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. Haven’t heard many great things but it is free to try so worth a go. For any who are not familiar it is an online multiplayer shooter where players go head to head. You can play as Space Marines, Chaos Marines, Orks and Eldar.
Started off badly, for some reason you need to have 3 names to register, a Login name for signing in, a nickname and a display name. Luckily the display and nickname can be the same but I don’t see the need for all the options. You also have a character name for in the game, leaving you with at least 3 names if you only have one character.
I started off with the free account. This gives you four slots to create characters and the basic loadouts which is decent. You could go all classes except the jump pack variant. The initial screen is character choice, beyond which you then have the hub. This is the main screen for your character and where you will spend most of your time in the game. From here you initiate battles, buy upgrades, customise your loadouts and check your inventory. There is also a War party (small squad) and Guild options. Co-op play is important in this style of game and will seriously enhance your enjoyment so this was good to see.
So, character created I dove in to PvP with my Dark Angel ready to purge some heretics. Unfortunately, I just ended up being repeatedly butchered by what felt like all the traitor marines in the game. But that was to be expected on the first try and is standard in this type of game. I fared a little better in subsequent games but not by much. Switched to a Chaos Space marine character and got absolutely shredded by the Eldar. Again, fared a little better after a few games but still coming in low on the scoreboard.
Gameplay itself wasn’t too bad, felt a bit like Space Marine which is a great game. It could feel a bit slow and clunky at times though, and melee combat is a bit strange. You can’t jump, which is fine but sometimes you will come up to a shin high ledge or box and be forced to run around it. You can vault objects but that often fails to work first time. The SM and CSM play almost exactly the same, the only variation being the apothecary/aspiring sorcerer. Eldar are fast and agile but die quickly, true to what we expect.
It became apparent that you definitely need to upgrade your characters and weapons to compete. The advancement tab in the hub lets you access your skill tree for you character. I like the option of upgrades and enhancing your character, even specialising in a chosen class. You earn points to allow you to buy weapons which is a much slower grind for free players.
The major problem however is often you will not be able to get into a game. At first, I couldn’t figure it out, but then I looked into the player base. This is a game that is dying. It’s hard to get a 30 man battle if only 12 people are online playing the game. You can check it out here https://steamcharts.com/app/375230. It seems there is only enough players for about 5 hours a day in the evening.
The hours I played the game I had fun. It’s not perfect and in some ways almost feels like it is still in development. This suggests some of the talk that is was rushed to release is true, it feels unfinished. If you are a fan you will probably get some enjoyment out of it so I would recommend giving it a try. But if you plan to play more than 10 hours I would recommend the paid version. As a fan it was enjoyable to see the Imperium and Chaos going head to head. And I liked working towards unlocking the iconic weapons we all know and love. You can get a key for the Imperium Edition (most complete version available) for about a tenner online. This is what I ended up doing after playing for a few hours (when I could get a game). I hope I won’t live to regret it. There is an update on the way which will hopefully bring some players back in, fingers crossed.
What do you all think? Is it a game worth saving or should we just let it fade away?